Posts Tagged ‘White Mountains’

Hiking Mountains with Small Children

April 21, 2012

A Review of Up by Patricia Ellis Herr 

UPAs someone who has done a lot of what the author has written about, I easily fell in love with this wonderful book about  Patricia Ellis Herr’s White Mountain adventures with her young daughter Alex – and to some extent with her even younger 2nd child, Sage.

Society and individuals love to put limits on people – especially people that have been traditionally marginalized – women and children immediately come to mind. Trish was having none of this and refused to let societal thinking impact her young daughter’s lives.

My own children also love to hike – which may be the greatest gift I can possible give them – my appreciation of the outdoors. All children are different though. I think for my kids to hike like the Alex it would only be because I pushed them to hard. It is so obviously clear that the author needed almost no prodding at all to get Alex into this great hobby/sport – Alex loves to hike and be outdoors. Like many children there is a button that can be easily pushed when the child is told “you cannot do that.” Nothing motivates children (or me) more that being told I cannot do something. Alex did not hear “you cannot do that” at home – or from herself – but there was a good deal of it on the trail from people who probably meant well but harbored ridiculous notions of what a child or a woman are capable of (in case you did not know – the answer is “anything!”)

The chapter titles give you a hint to the lessons that are learned and taught from mother (and father) to the children. “Know What You’re Getting Into”, “I Think I Can”, “Ignore the Naysayers”, “Roll with the Punches”, “Enjoy the Journey While it Lasts” and the very tough and difficult lessons of “Mistakes Can Have Serious Consequences.” Alex and Sage are home schooled and you can see that the outdoors make up a large part of their education.

Author and daughters

Author Patricia Ellis Herr with daughters Alex and Sage

The author’s style is a pleasure to read and makes for a very hard to put down book. The well-paced narrative moves towards its climax with a sense of excitement and wonder – you really pull for Alex to reach her goal and it is great to read about her special day and the many who took part in it.

I recommend this book to almost anyone – people who like the outdoors, a great book to share with your children – but even more so I would like to see people read this book that are afraid of their own shadows and whose children never get to experience any sense of real adventure outside of a gaming or television screen. People who hate the outdoors may read this book and realized they are missing the greatest things in life. Up recounts great experiences and triumphs and like all good books makes me wish it were longer – and makes me want to get back outside where I feel the most alive.

Up is available at your local book retailer or online at Barnes & Noble and Amazon 

Author’s website

Photo credits:

Book cover courtesy of Patricia Ellis Herr

Author and daughters photo courtesy of Clay Dingman


Random Thoughts during a Rainy Saturday Afternoon in the White Mountains

July 10, 2010


Before we had a camp in New Hampshire I would drive up at 3 AM and I would hike come hell or high water – those who hike with me can attest it was usually high water. Now that I am up here a lot I have become more selective about all weather hiking – today, while eating breakfast Larry and I put our two brains together (which almost equals one brain) and decided to call off the days adventure – this is what you are stuck with – my over active imagination and thoughts…

 Bethlehem, NH is a sight on Friday/Saturday/Shabbat in the summer. This quiet little mountain town has long been the summer holiday destination of thousands of orthodox Jews. In amongst the earthy crunchy farmer’s market set and the northern New England chic antique shops you will find dozens of black and white clad men, women and children walking throughout the town.

 WARNING – ATHEIST AT THE KEYBOARD ALERT. Although I never want to be a part of orthodoxy and think that fundamentalist approaches to religion (and religion) are the root of much of the world’s evil – no matter which religion it springs forth from – Bethlehem is a nice reminder and vision of what America is supposed to be – I think Jefferson, Paine, Madison, Franklin et al would be proud.

 CAREFUL – THE ATHEIST IS STILL TYPING. If you cannot get enough fantasy, fairy tale, fiction and make believe at the Disney resorts – and the Santa’s North Pole theme is not enough while visiting Santa’s Village be sure to go to the back of the park and check out the life sized nativity scene. The camel’s and wise men are huge. In a strange layout – a gigantic cross is across the lawn from the infant – creepy foreshadowing I suppose. My personal issues aside – Santa’s Village (Satan’s Village?) in Jefferson, NH is a great park for little kids of any or no faiths. I have an affinity for places that let you bring your own food in.

 I have not liked the world as much since Jack Lemmon died – a true talent.

 Sarah Palin’s twenty minutes of fame have been up for about eighteen months now. You can go back to Twin Peaks and get your Canadian health care anytime now.

 Sharron Angle is attempting the impossible – she is making Harry Reid look like an outstanding candidate. You go girl. With colonial powers Holland and Spain in the World Cup final it is apparently all the rage to “go all 16th century.” Angle has done a better job sabotaging her own campaign by talking than the Left media could have ever done. Thanks Sharron!

 Glenn Beck is irrelevant – we should stop bitching about him like he matters.

 Ditto for Mel Gibson – has he been in an even mediocre movie since Gallipoli? Give him credit though – his racism and anti-Semitism are first rate.

 I don’t mind guns as much as mind the NRA lobby.

 Each time Larry King grabs a new barely legal bride do they actually have to have sex with him? Do they just have to do the photos and then wait a few months for the alimony checks? Isn’t this a type of prostitution? “Earth to Mr. King – what is wrong with cougars?” The generosity of women never ceases to amaze me. (Axle Foley gave me that line.) 

 Very sad and very funny all at the same time – people watching at the Littleton, NH Walmart. The “recovery” has not found its way up here yet.

 No matter what the sign says on the end display sugar cookies are not and cannot be patriotic. 

While on the empire of Sam Walton theme…Walmart’s store brand of cheaply manufactured by child/slave labor, Faded Glory line is an insanely ironic brand name. Seeing the American flag on such cheap cut-rate crap, and at a store where the middle and lower classes are practically forced to shop at is truly symbolic of the United States fade from glory on the world scene – except when a regime needs to be toppled of course. When that happens it’s “north, south, east or west we have the cluster bombs that are the best.” 

Last but not least (my friend Larry got this idea started) – is there anything more offensive than LeBron James and his handlers taking/getting an hour of airtime on ESPN so all of the world can find out (who cares?) which franchise gets the honor of paying this guy $30 million/year? It makes little difference to me that the proceeds go to charity. I guess the economy is looking up in Miami.

 Thanks for listening…it stopped raining and I am going out!